How to Pick The Right SAM Tool [Expert’s Guide]

SaaS Tools

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Written by
Vendr Team
Published on
September 22, 2020
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Searching for a better way to manage your software assets?

Tracking your app usage with Excel might work out if you’re using a couple of software tools, tops.

Thing is, though, most companies today use over 100 apps altogether.

And tracking that many apps and their daily usage with Excel can be very inefficient and often inaccurate.

Luckily, a software asset management (SAM) tool can automatically track and update all your software apps information so you can easily manage them all from one place.

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about SAM tools including:

  • What’s a Software Asset Management Tool (SAM Tool)?
  • 3+ Benefits of Using a SAM Tool
  • How to Pick the Right Software Asset Management Tool
  • 3+ SAM Tool Use-Cases

What’s a Software Asset Management Tool (SAM Tool)?

A software asset management tool can help you manage, control, and protect all your software assets from one place.

More and more companies rely on software to partially or entirely support their business operations. And the number of software tools they use is constantly increasing.

With a growing inventory of software assets, you might find it overwhelming to keep track of all the app changes that happen on a daily basis.

That’s where a SAM tool can be very helpful since it puts all your apps, their usage, license information, and other app-related details in one centralized platform.

Software asset management is a subset of IT asset management (ITAM), a type of software that helps you manage both your hardware and software assets.

3+ Benefits of Using a SAM Tool

Using a SAM tool comes with lots of other benefits too…

#1. Automated Asset Discovery and Inventory Tracking

The software asset management tool automatically detects when new software is added to the company’s network system. Once detected, the software is added to the inventory.

This way, you have a top-down view on all the software that’s being used throughout the entire company. So, you can easily detect software apps that have duplicate features, inactive accounts, and extra licenses.

#2. Software Asset Tracking

Tracking your software assets can be tricky. Unlike hardware, the software is intangible and you can’t possibly keep track of all software assets without the help of a tool.

Companies that don’t use any sort of tracking system often end up paying for a lot of software tools that they’re not even using.

And the cost of unused software can be quite high. In the course of 4 years, the total cost of unused or rarely used software by US companies adds up to the staggering $30 billion!

You can, however, easily save up these costs by using a SAM tool.

SAM tools automatically detect all the software your organization is using, and pin-points the ones that are being paid for, but not used. This, in turn, allows you to cancel the relevant subscriptions, and save up on software cost.

#3. Asset Lifecycle Management

With a SAM tool, you can track the lifecycle stages of your software assets.

This way, you can see whether you’ll need to request new software, or replace legacy software with something more modern.

The 5 stages of a software asset’s lifecycle are:

  1. Plan. At this stage, you make a decision and plan on the type of software your company needs. You explore the different options and research on which software solution fits your company’s needs best.
  2. Acquire. Once you decide, you reach the procurement stage. Here, you make the license purchase and acquire the software.
  3. Commission. At this stage, you introduce the software into the IT system and give users access to it.
  4. Maintain. To maximize the value of the software, you might have to update it, maintain it, or work with the software’s support team if any issues occur.
  5. Retire. If the software is not useful anymore, or the company’s needs changed, you might have to end the license agreement and retire the current software solution.

#4. Increased Accountability

Preparing for audits is much easier with the help of a SAM tool.

The tool keeps a record of your compliance over time. So, to carry out an audit, all you have to do is extract this data in the form of a report.

Want to read about more benefits of SAM? Check out these 10 essential SAM benefits!

How to Pick the Right Software Asset Management Tool

There are many different SAM tools on the market, so how can you choose the right one?

In this section, we’ll cover all aspects you should consider, so you can make an informed choice and get the SAM tool that best fits your company’s needs.


#1. Company Size

When you’re choosing a SAM tool, it’s important to consider the size of your company.

If you’re a small company (or you just don’t use that many software tools), you don’t need a complex enterprise-grade SAM tool.

On the other hand, if you’re a large organization with hundreds or thousands of apps, you’ll need something more complex.

#2. Infrastructure Complexity

Bigger companies also tend to have a more complex infrastructure.

It’s always better to have a more comprehensive SAM tool to keep everything organized especially if:

  • You have multiple departments in different locations and have an international presence.
  • Your company went through acquisition or a merger.
  • You outsource some of your operations.

Such structures can make your company’s operations clumsier and tracking software becomes much harder. So, a SAM tool that can cover all of them can make things much easier.

#3. SAM Tool Functionalities

Some SAM tools concentrate on 1 of these 2 areas:

  • Inventory tracking
  • License management

If you just want to keep a record of your software asset inventory, getting a more simple SAM tool with limited features like inventory tracking and asset discovery might be enough. This way, you’ll be able to eliminate unused licenses and cut on costs.

However, to get the most out of a SAM tool, we recommend going for a solution that offers both functionalities.

#4. Compatibility with Other Company Systems

When you’re choosing your SAM tool, think about your already existing systems like HR, procurement, and IT among others.

Once you have a SAM tool in mind, call the vendors and ask them whether their SAM tool will integrate easily with these systems and how it will fit within your organization’s structure.

After all, you don’t want to buy the solution and discover that it’s not compatible with the software you’re using.

Want to get the most out of your SAM tool? Read our guide with 7+ essential SAM best practices!

3+ SAM Tool Use-Cases

Next, let’s see what are the most common use-cases of a SAM tool and how this will help you manage your software assets better.

#1. Employee on/offboarding

A good SAM tool can automate and control the license accessibility in both the employee onboarding and offboarding processes.

When you onboard a new employee, they might need access to a bunch of software tools and create accounts on all of them.

With the SAM tool, you can set up an easy-to-follow employee onboarding process. Once you put the employee on the SAM platform all they’ll have to do is follow this process.

The same goes for offboarding. You don’t want to accidentally miss on terminating a former employee’s account. After all, this can potentially lead to a security breach, data leakage, and other cybersecurity risks.

So, you can use a SAM tool to create a standardized offboarding process, and remove any room for human error in offboarding.

#2. License management

License management is one of SAM’s main goals.

The tool has all the information related to your licenses including Terms & Conditions, renewal and payment policies, installation and usage instructions, and other vendor information.

With the SAM tool, you can get notified of any license changes and ensure your compliance with ease.

#3. Spend Optimization

The SAM tool gives you reports on your spending per app, employee, project, or department.

It can also easily detect any abandoned accounts or extra licenses that can be terminated and help you reduce costs.

Without a SAM tool, you might not even be able to discover that such unused licenses exist and keep on paying for something your company doesn’t need.

#4. Security and Compliance

When dealing with software vendors, compliance is an important factor.

It’s crucial to have accurate information on your compliance with the software licenses, especially when the audit day approaches.

With the SAM tool, you have a complete record of your license compliance and you can easily get a comprehensive report based on that record.

This way, you don’t have to waste weeks of compiling audit reports and wonder if you’re going to get fined because you’re missing important information.

Check out these 5+ top SAM processes that will convince you to start using a SAM tool today!

Software Asset Management With Vendr

Not sure which SAM tool to go with?

Try Vendr's SaaS management and SAM software for businesses of all sizes.

How to Pick The Right SAM Tool

Our comprehensive tool gives you all the features and functionalities we’ve discussed in this article, and more!

  • Automated Software Discovery. Vendr automatically uncovers all the apps your company uses, and presents them to you in a single unified dashboard.
  • App Usage And Spend Tracking. You can keep track of how often your apps are used, by whom, as well as how much you’re spending on any given software.
  • Vendor Management. Renew, terminate, and manage your licenses from a single dashboard.

Key Takeaways

A SAM tool can make software asset tracking and management much easier, especially if you deal with many different software tools across different departments.

To choose the right SAM tool for you, consider these factors:

  • Company size
  • Infrastructure complexity
  • SAM tool functionalities
  • Compatibility with other company systems

Once you understand your company’s needs and requirements, you’re one step closer to choosing the right SAM tool!

Vendr Team
Vendr Team
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Vendr's team of SaaS and negotiation experts provide their curated insights into the latest trends in software, tool capabilities, and modern procurement strategies.

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